Uncivilized India

So far, pretty much everything I’ve had to say about India has been easy to categorize as praise.  It’s not perfect, though.  In one way in particular…

Uncivilized India is gross, overwhelming, too strong to ignore.  Uncivilized India is a country of littering.  And littering is a weak, polite word for an action that, en masse, leads to a river so choked with plastic bottles that the dead cow only shows a bit of bloated belly, otherwise hidden, coated, covered by Pepsi, Mirinda, 7-Up, Aquafina, etc, etc, etc.  The strange foil packets of tobacco flakes, breath mints, who knows what – they pile up in cracks and fill the potholes in the road.

People are constantly sweeping the sidewalks and street edges, but they cannot keep up with the flood of trash dropped, tossed, unconsidered by a billion people.  Who are the sweepers?  Are they of one caste?  Are they disappearing with the caste system?  Will the beauty of India drown in its trash as the habit of centuries, the reliance on “someone else” to clean for you, becomes a habit based on an old, out of date understanding of the way of things?

It’s happening.  But a country that opens trash bags to find what’s usable should be able to move toward recycling.  Right?


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